Thekkady which is in Idukki district is the location of the Periyar National Park. Thekkady is on the border with state of Tamil Nadu , in fact just 5 kilometers from the border town of Kumily which is very well connected by bus to both Kerala and Tamil Nadu.It is located about 257 km (160 miles) from Trivandrum, 114 km from Madurai Airport, 185 km from Cochin International Airport and 114 km from Kottayam railway station. The sanctuary is famous for its dense evergreen, semi-evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savanna grass lands. It is home to herds of elephants, sambar, tigers, gaur, lion-tailed Macaques and Nilgiri Langurs.In the crisp, cool air of the Western Ghats you will experience the most enchanting holiday. With the animals of the wild and the simple mountain people. In the Periyar forest of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India, and spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold great opportunities for treks and mountain walks. The Thekkady sanctuary is one of the best in the country for watching and photographing wild life.
Periyar wildlife sanctuary
The sanctuary is spread over an area of about 777sqkm and comprises of a thick evergreen forest with exotic wild life. The sanctuary was declared a tiger reserve sometime in 1978. It has an artificial lake formed by the Mullai Periyar Dam, built across the Periyar river.The Periyar Tiger Reserve, named after the Periyar river, is one of Kerala’s prestigious possessions on the High Ranges of the Western Ghats.
The forests of Periyar can be divided into four categories.
i) The open grasslands are home to the Elephants, the Bison and herds of deer.
ii) The moist deciduous forest is dominated by trees like Terminalia and Teak which shed their leaves seasonally.
iii) The semi-evergreen forest occurs along wet stream areas and is often adjacent to the tropical evergreen forest.
iv) The ‘Sholas’ or tropical evergreen jungle which is typical of the entire western Ghats in the state, abounds in this Reserve .
The varied habitat in the sanctuary supports a number of species of terrestrial, aquatic and arboreal animals. Apart from Elephants, other herbivores in the Reserve are Gaur, Bonnet macaque, Sambar deer, Barking deer, Jungle cat, Nilgiri langur, Lion-tailed macaque, Mouse deer etc Wild dog, Tiger, Leopard, etc are the major carnivores seen in the area. Other important animals are Jackal, Pangoline, Porcupine, Indian Giant Squirrel, Bear, small Indian Civet, Mongoose, Wild boar and the Malabar flying squirrel.
The sanctuary watch towers
There are three watch towers for observing wild life – at Edappalayam, Manakkavala and Thannikudi. Reservations can be made at the Forest information Counter, Thekkady
This place consists of spice and coffee plantations. It is about 5 km from Thekkady.
Kerala history is closely linked with its commerce, which in turn was wholly dependant until recent times on its spice trade. Kerala was known for its spices and traders travelled here to trade and to gain control over this rich land. It is believed that the spice trade dates back three thousand years. Pepper still remains the king of Kerala’s spices, but the state also has a very rich produce in cardamom, cinnamon , nutmeg, ginger and tumeric.The state is the spice capital of the world. Over twelve varieties of spices including clove, ginger, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, coffee, vannilla, tea, garlic and nutmeg is cultivated in Thekkady and its neighbouring villages.
Kumily is just 4 kms from thekkady
This plantation town, closely associated with Thekkady, is situated on the outskirts of the Periyar Sanctuary. It is an important shopping centre and spice trade centre, the main bus station and most of the medium range accommodation in the Periyar region is in Kumily.
This is located about 15km from Kumily and leads to the Cumbum district of Tamil Nadu. This place has a lot of waterfalls and cascades.
It is 5 kms from Thekkady.This picturesque place is cradled between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu State border is a popular picnic spot. Pandikuzhi offers great opportunities for trekking and is a photographer’s delight.
It is 18 km from Thekkady.The river Periyar flowing through the centre of this town nourishes its vast tea, coffee and pepper plantations. A major trade centre, Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of tea factories. The Government Agriculture Farm and Flower Gardens have a delightful array of rose plants, orchids and anthurium.
It is just 25 km from Kumily and is one of the world’s largest auction centres for Cardamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantaions of Vandanmedu is a pleasent experience.
Mangala Devi Temple
It is situated about 15km from Thekkady . It is only open during the Chitra Pournami festival.This ancient temple is hidden in the dense woods at the top of a peak 1337 M above sea level. The temple is built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture. The peak commands a panoramic view of the other side of the ghats and the vast plains of Tamil Nadu. Permission to visit the area can be obtained from the Wildlife Warden at Thekkady.
It is 43 km from Thekkady and 26 km from Periyar.
The winding journey to this hill town, along the Periyar river, offers a stunning view of the rolling hills draped in lush greenery. Velvet lawns, rare flora and fauna add to the beauty of Pullumedu which can be accessed from a jeep. The famous Sree Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Joythi illuminations at the shrine are visible from here. Since it is part of the restricted forest zone, special permission to visit Pullumedu has to be obtained from the Wildlife Preservation Officer, Thekkady Tel.+ 91-486-322027 or The Range Officer, Vallakkadavu